“Why is there something instead of nothing?”
That is the fundamental question penned by Martin Heidegger. That question made him a giant in the philosophy world… right up there with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Lau Tzu, and The Buddha. It seems everyone before him sought to describe the world we live in, and they all came up with interesting and profound ideas about that. But nobody ever bothered to ask the question, ‘why is there even a universe in the first place?’
That really is the first question, the Fundamental Question as it has come to be known. It seems to me, the very next question should be, ‘What does it mean to be human?’
Poets, philosophers, artists, writers, and lawyers have all attempted to answer the latter question in various ways. Descartes is known for the statement, “I think, therefore I am.” Some say it’s our ability to love that distinguishes us in the animal kingdom. Others suggest humour makes us human. I say that ‘boredom’ is the seed of humanity.
Think about it. If we could just stare at the wall, eating, sleeping, shitting, and fucking without getting bored, we’d probably do that our whole entire lives. We’d be like cattle in a field, just happy as shit, shitting all over ourselves. But we don’t. We get bored staring at the wall. We can’t help it. Our minds start to wander.
We start thinking about God. We start thinking about who we are. We start to think that we think, and therefore we are. We think about the asshole who lives next door. We think about creating art. We think about the nature of the universe. We think about ways to amuse ourselves. Pretty soon we’re thinking about our feelings. We’re thinking about our differences. We’re thinking about changing the world… and sometimes, some people think that the world would be better off without people who don’t think the same way they do.
If I could travel back in time and have a beer with Rene’ Descartes, perhaps my influence would rub off on him.
“I’m bored, and therefore I think I am.”